Roasted Vegetable and Black Kale Soup

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns.
- George Eliot (1819–1880)

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
- J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973)

Our October yard has begun hoarding piles of golden leaves. As I watch from my kitchen, our neighbour's black kitten, Moe, steals among the piles in search of something more appetizing than gold. I love Autumn. I love the smells, sounds, colours, and tastes of this sensual season and am inspired to spend more time in the kitchen than usual. Rich, sweet and earthy Fall flavours are pure, primitive comfort after being outside sweeping the leaves off my porch. Autumn is the season of Crockpot cooking, big pots of homemade stew or soup served with thick slices of crusty homemade bread. The evenings arrive earlier and darkness beats me home from work, what could be better than stepping into the kitchen and heating up a big bowl of hearty soup? I would think nothing, but I watch as kitten Moe chases a big grey squirrel along the fence-tops into the distance. To each her own.

What I cook is partially dictated by what we get in our weekly organic produce delivery. Mama Earth Organics is a wonderful resource, delivering an array of seasonal organic (and mostly local) produce to our porch. Most of the dishes I make in a week are an answer to a question inadvertently created by the friendly people at Mama Earth, the question is—what are you going to cook with this? The soup below was today's answer to Ontario fresh garlic (huge cloves) and field tomatoes, Swan White Acorn squash and Black Kale (from Pfenning's Organic Farms). The difficulty for me was finding a way to counter the usual bitter taste of kale. Normally, I would have cooked the kale with smokey bacon and broth in the style of Southern mustard greens, but Autumn suggested soup to me. I went online and read that roasted vegetables and beans could balance that bitterness with their mix of savoury and starch. Obviously I had to add some double smoked bacon (Cumbrae Farms) to the mix because I love that smokey flavour in soup. According to my wife Leah, this was the correct answer. So here we have it and I share it with you. Happy Autumn, happy Fall, happy harvest. Enjoy.



3 medium carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
1 large tomato, quartered
1 large parsnip, peeled and quartered lenthwise
1 large sweet onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 small Swan White squash, peeled, seeded and cut into half inch thick wedges
5 big garlic cloves (6 small), peeled
2 rashers of good quality double-smoke bacon, cut into lardons (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil 6 cups or more of low sodium chicken broth, divided
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups of finely chopped black kale, stems removed
2 tbsp parsley leaves, chopped
3 large fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 19 fl oz can of white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1. Preheat oven to 400F / 200C / Gas Mark 6. Oil a rasting pan and arrange carrots, parsnip, squash, onion, tomato and garlic on sheet. Toss with a little more olive oil and sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast vegetables until they are browned and tender about 45 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Once finished removed from oven and allow to cool a little while.

2. Cut the squash parsnip and carrots into a half inch pieces and place in food processor. Add tomatoes garlic cloves and onion and puree until smooth. Pour a half cup broth onto the baking sheet; scrape up any browned bits. Transfer broth and vegetable puree to large pot. Add 5½ cups broth, kale, thyme and bay leaf to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered until kale is tender, about 30 minutes.

3. At this point fry the bacon in a frypan until nicely browned and pour out onto a paper towel to removed excess grease.

4. Add the reserved carrots, parsnips and squash along with the beans, bacon (if used), tomato paste and parlsey to the soup. Simmer 8 minutes to let the flavors get friendly with one another. At this point feel free to add more broth to soup if it is too thick for your taste. Season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

To Serve
Garnish with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Anonymous said...

Your site has won a Blog of the Day Award (BOTDA)

Award Code

Your award will go live on Tuesday October 21, 2008 (~2:30 PST)

Thank you,

Bill Austin

Anonymous said...

I just copied, pasted & saved the recipe, it looks so delicious. I've been craving soup a lot lately too...that and ice cream. May be I should try it out now.

Paul said...

Bill, I am very honoured.

Marilynn, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did

Anonymous said...

Its really looks delicious I should try it in future

Anonymous said...

We love soups in winter. I usually make my own. This one is addition to my collection. It looks little thick and my kids like thick one though.

Jamie said...

As the weather turns colder I find myself craving hearty meals more and more and when I found this recipe I knew I had come to the right place. I cooked it last evening for me and my husband and needless to say it has become a house favorite!

montreal florist said...

It looks delicous soup. It could be healthy food.

Ashley said...

Wow this looks absolutely good and probably taste delicious. I can’t wait to try this at home.

Rachel said...

This kale soup is so great. I'll try this at home. Nice post